Wednesday, October 3, 2012

:ס”ג Honouring the Host

תנו רבנן כשנכנסו רבותינו לכרם ביבנה היו שם רבי יהודה ורבי יוסי ור' נחמיה ור' אליעזר בנו של רבי יוסי הגלילי פתחו כולם בכבוד אכסניא ודרשו פתח רבי יהודה ראש המדברים בכל מקום בכבוד תורה ודרש

It is common custom for a speaker at some sort of gathering to be פותח בכבוד אכסניא as these תנאים were in כרם ביבנה. According to the simple reading of our גמרא, it would seem that רבי יהודה opens with tangential remarks extolling the virtues of those who study תורה, especially making extra efforts to do so. But perhaps this is not at all departure from פותחים בכבוד אכסניא. The אכסניא here are those who have opened their homes to the תלמידי חכמים who have come to study in יבנה. It would not be sufficient to simply say “thanks for having us.” First, רבי יהודה  sets the stage by impressing upon the crowd the importance of what is going on there. With the newly instilled appreciation for the greatness of לימוד התורה, the crowd was then able to fully appreciate the greatness of the הכנסת אורחים on the part of the hosts.

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